Monday, April 25, 2011

Lunar Tidal and Queer Cultural Drag

Behold the Virgo Cluster, which is on average about 48 million light years away and forms the heart of what is known as the Virgo (or "Local") Supercluster.

Our Milky Way Galaxy, the Andromeda Galaxy, and their respective swarms of attendant satellite galaxies that form the "Local Group" are on the outskirts of the Virgo Supercluster. They, in turn, belong to an intermediate structure known as the M94 or Canes Venatici I Group (or "Canes Venatici Cloud of Galaxies").

The above image was the April 22, 2011 APOD.

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So my gum infection SEEMS to be over. I'm still on the antibiotics, though. I went to my black dentist -- I kind of like him and he's quite good -- this morning and he confirmed that it was indeed an infection and that I was right to start taking the amoxicillin (which I had left over from late last year).

The intersection of V and 16th Streets, NW, Washington, D.C., 9:19PM, April 25, 2011. I was walking back from a Larry's Lounge happy hour tonight with Kristof where we actually watched the Are You Being Served? movie from 1977.

BTW, British actor Trevor Bannister -- a.k.a. Mr. Lucas on AYBS? -- has died.

He was 76 years old.

Only Frank Thornton ("Captain Peacock"), age 90, and Nicholas Smith (Mr. Rumbold), age 77, of the original cast survive (as well as Mike Berry, a.k.a., Mr. Spooner, age 68).

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So, Thank You God, this did NOT turn into anything like the nightmare of Jan/Feb. 2000 when a severe gum infection / abscess nearly killed me.

The dentist actually inserted my permanent crown on (and I was able to pay the remaining $234 balance, a bit less than I thought, on my flexible spending account card). However, he didn't use the permanent bonding agent at this time, but rather he used a removable cement in case the infection is not over. But, as it now stands, my face is now back to normal ...

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Speaking of faces, let's look at the Moon's two different ones ...

Behold -- the Dark Side of the Moon! -- as seen in a remarkable closely high resolution series of images from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and shown in the April 9, 2011 APOD.

Actually, it's the "far side" of the Moon (it does get sunlight) that we never see from Earth because -- all at once:

"The metal-poor Moon is tidally locked to the much more massive (heavier) Planet Earth, although there is a bit of a "libration" in that we see about 60% of the lunar surface over its 28-day orbital cycle. But the Moon returns the favor by creating a lunar tidal drag through ocean tides that (very slowly) is spinning down the Earth (about 2 milliseconds per century) even as -- due to the exchange of angular momentum -- the Moon moves farther away (a few millimeters per year)."

Very good class. A's for everyone.

Ah, that's better -- the "Man in the Moon" nearside of our beloved and vitally important lunar companion we know. The nearside is very different with a more ancient face of dark "sea" mare and fewer recent meteor impacts.

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My follow up visit to the dentist is next Monday morning. Next Tuesday afternoon I have to go to the dermatologist and to -- finally -- get the blood work as a follow-up to the visit to my doctor last week. The two places are next to each other on Wisconsin Ave. in Chevy Chase near the Friendship Heights Metro. Yes, suburban Maryland.

Speaking of suburban Maryland, I went to Quill's parents' house in Silver Spring (near where I used to live with an ex-friend in 2004 and early 2005, except that was actually and unexpectedly a very peaceful and nice time (out of a horrible time preceding it). It was for Easter Sunday dinner and it was very nice.

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Some pictures from Easter Sunday ...

The intersection of Brunett Avenue and Bruce Drive in Silver Spring, Md., 5:59PM April 24, 2011.

There had been a thunderstorm a short time earlier across the northern part of the area including Silver Spring. Later, there were big storms across Northern Virginia into D.C. Everything was vibrant electric green and in floral bloom.

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Azalea bushes in floral bloom and a Japanese maple tree in Quill's parents' driveway, Silver Spring, Md., 6:03PM, April 24, 2011.

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Here my dear friend Quill dons a hot and holds an Easter basket in a peaceful place in Silver Spring, Md., 10:09PM, April 24, 2011.

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OK, that's about all for now. I'm going to have to bypass any political commentary or links to commentary.

It's Monday night just after 10:30PM as I start this entry. Tonight is We TV's marathon of reruns of The Golden Girls and Frasier is on Hallmark Channel from 9PM to 11PM.

But over on WETA 26 was a reairing of an amazing episode of The American Experience on the Stonewall Riots of late June 1969 in New York and the whole American cultural back story leading up to that very hot week way back then.

Some people who were at the actual event were interviewed -- including the police officer who oversaw a morality squad that was involved in the actual raid. (The people interviewed are also noteworthy in that they survived the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s.)

The Stonewall Inn in Sept. 1969 shortly after the riots. (I was born in Nov. 1969 about 40 miles as the gay DeeP Oooza crow flies.)

I've seen this and similar documentaries before and they are so informative.

It wasn't easy to be gay back then. America was a very constipated and repressed place, so to speak, in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Today's bogus Teabaggers and cartoonish fundamentalists are just silly parodies.

I realize this runs afoul of my oft-stated romanticism of the 1940s.

Gay life, such as it was, as late as 1969 was very difficult indeed. There was no "gay mafia" and its attendant narcissistic monsters as it now exists on 17th Street here in D.C. Rather, the only mafia was the ACTUAL mafia that ran some of these places in between police raids.

Can you imagine someone like him in a bad cultural place and time rather than the current one in which he gets celebrity, prestige, and adulation, not to mention money by the wheelbarrow full every night?

Me neither.

But let's not talk about that now.

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Speaking of monsters (far away ones) ...

The "Monsters of IC 1396" -- as it was dubbed in the April 25, 2011 APOD -- also known as the Elephant's Trunk Nebula located about 3,000 light years away in the constellation Cepheus. That brilliant star in the upper left is creating a stellar wind that is blowing away the gas and dust of the star-forming nebula.

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OK, that really is all. It's now about 1AM as I finish this entry. My next planned update will be in a few days.

--Regulus

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